An Ode to Paris Hilton at Parties for Cell Phones

A fabricated phenomenon so barren of meaning, I crave it in these confusing times.

An Ode to Paris Hilton at Parties for Cell Phones
Photo:Victor Spinelli (Getty Images)

Forget “cellar door.” The loveliest phrase in the English language is “Paris Hilton poses at the Nokia launch party.”

The early aughts nostalgia tour we’ve all collectively and dissociatively taking part in as of late has made me sentimental. Who else best represents those brief years when Y2K was still in our rearview mirror and no one knew what a tweet was? Paris Hilton, of course.

Her number one hobby? Attending release parties for cell phones. Her number two hobby? Coyly holding a precious cell phone next to her face.

Photo:Jun Sato (Getty Images)

If there was a party for a cell phone in aughts and early 2010s, there was Paris. Never one without the other. Blackberry. Nokia. Motorola. Verizon.

Paris Hilton’s past adoration for her cell phone, or any cell phone for that matter (a relatively new technology in the early aughts), is beguiling. Perhaps that’s because cell phones are so ubiquitous today. They’re a third limb, an organ beating, or buzzing, outside our corporeal form. So to see the tenderness with which Paris Hilton cradled her bejeweled cellular device, forces me, the viewer, to reexamine them.

Photo:Jeff Kravitz (Getty Images)

I mean this is a woman who had people compete to be her best friend on television. She was, by nature and by brand, exclusive. Her cell phone’s constant presence exuded an air of superiority. “I’m talking to someone cooler.” “I’m talking to someone cooler, about you.

A whole party for a cell phone? Let alone a whole party for a cell phone that is hip enough that the heir of Hilton Hotels showed up? It is laughably devoid of meaning. It is significantly barren. So much so that I crave the simplicity of it.

Photo:Patrick McMullan (Getty Images)

I know, I know. There is a cruelness so acute in the world, especially this week, that it actually feels sort of gross to be writing about this fabricated phenomenon. Paris Hilton is someone who floats so above consequence and reality, whose privilege has shielded her from the injustices of the world.

But maybe indulging in the vapidness of these photos, nostalgic for a time when, as a teen, I would flip through magazines soaking in the sterile-ness of it all, is a mini escape. Maybe I need to hold my cell phone like a tiny treasure up to my face. Maybe there ought to be an entire party, complete with signature cocktails and an event photographer, for a device so commonplace the entire charade feels like a performance art piece.

To be Paris. To be a cell phone. To be Paris at a party for a cell phone. What an empty calorie treat that would be right now.

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